Monday, 16 July 2007


When I started this blog I set myself a goal: post every day for a month. It's a lot harder than it sounds. Excuses for the declining quality. I will get back to Mild grists. You can depend on that. But not today. I would promise tomorrow, except I've already done that twice and disappointed you. I'll get back to Mild grists sometime. How about that?

Promises, promises
I'd promised the kids a day at the outdoor swimming pool. But the weather god was having bladder problems. Must be his age. What to do on a crappy summer day in Amsterdam? Let's go to the beach!

Amsterdam has a beach? Yes. Despite the sea being moved several kilometres away in a Dutch poldering rage, Amsterdam does still posess a beach. As much by accident as design (apologies for the lack of a verb in this sentence). I'm losing the thread again. Amsterdam beach, that's it. (Takes a slug of Guinness SES.) I feel revitalised. With an "s". It stands for Stout.

Where are my notes? Oh yes, over there. I'll just fetch them ... . . . . ... . . . ... Damn. I wasn't at my best on Saturday. I would apologise again, but you would start to despise me, not consciously, but deep indside. So, no apologies. Just bear in mind I was having a bad day. (That's an explanation, not an excuse.)

Hey ho, let's go
The flats may be incomplete in Amsterdam's newest borough, but the beach is up and running (in a non diarrhea sense). You expect a description, don't you? Go there yourself and have a look!

That was the angry me. Ignore him. Just don't complain if my mastery of words is insufficient to whatsit, whatsit thingy the thing. I'll come back to that sentence later. I hope. If I forget, fill in the blanks yourself.

Let's return to Restaurant Blijburg. Mr. Pattinson and his family, after a long and arduous journey (the 26 tram) approach . . .

"I'm not going any further."

Andrew eyeballs the loose bulldog next to the approach ramp.

"I'll offer my left leg, if it turns nasty. Come on! Or you'll be eating grass for tea."

You have to know how to talk to kids. I flipflop between extreme lenience and pure fascism. It keeps them alert.

Beer. That's supposed to be the theme. Not "How to confuse your children". Maybe if i just quote my notes I won't wander off-message so much. Here goes:

How would you describe Restaurant Blijburg? That's a good question. You expect an answer, don't you? I'm tempted to just throw questions back and leave the answers till later.

This isn't working too well. Stick to the notes. The notes. The notes . . .

How do you describe Restaurant Blijdurg? Like a hippy squat on the North Jamaican coast. Negril. That's what it's like. Especially with the reggae pounding out of the sound system.

Everything is genuinely ramshackle. The bar counter and the cupboards behind it are all constructed from old crates. Very green. It looks good, too. Great views over Het Ij (the lump of water, not the brewery, sadly).

The sun has come out (thank you benevolent weather god) and the kids are off for a paddle. It's hard to believe I'm still in Amsterdam - sun, reggae, Westmalle Tripel. The last isn't so unusual.

I wonder what it's like out here on a sunny day. It's been threatening to piss it down all day and I still have to wait 30 seconds to get served at the bar. Thank you rain god.

Blijburg is sooooo Amsterdam. Cool, but without pretention. Trendy, yet full of families. And they have Westmalle Dubbel, Tripel and Duvel. I could stay all day.

Finding it
It isn't easy to find Restaurant Blijburg. That could account for much of its charm. Should you make it out there, you deserve to enjoy its unique atmosphere. My wife Dolores said: "Don't mention it in your blog! It will get overrun by tourists." "Naaay." I replied "They won't be able to find it." Let's make it a bit easier. Take the 26 tram to the terminus. Carry on walking. Ignore the sign that says "Strand ->" That just points at a building site.

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